The Russian Navy wants to scrap its Saint-Petersburg submarine only 14 years after its delivery

The Saint-Petersburg submarine, top of the Lada class, will be scrapped by decision of the Russian Navy, after only 14 years of service.

Presented for the first time at the end of the 90s, just as Russia was going through one of the greatest economic and political crises in its history, dealing a terrible blow to its defense industry, the conventional submarines of the Lada class, project 677, were to mark the revival of the production of this type of ship by Moscow.

Very ambitious, the program included a very advanced integration of digital technologies to reduce the crew to only 35 men, against more than 50 for the 636 Improved Kilo they were to replace.

In addition, research had been started to equip the ship with anaerobic propulsion AIP like the Swedish Götland or the new German Type 214. The construction of the class prototype, the Saint-Petersburg submarine, was started at the end of 1997, and the ship was launched seven years later, which, at that time, was a very short deadline for Russian shipyards. That's when the problems started piling up.

In 2005, as it began its sea trials, the program was suspended for lack of funds to free up the funds necessary for the design and manufacture of other naval surface units, to resume only at the end of 2012.

In the meantime, the ambition of the program had been scaled back, the Russian Navy preferring to turn to the more reliable 636.3 program to renew the Black Sea fleets, then later, the Pacific and Baltic Sea fleets, or 18 submarines. The Lada class, meanwhile, was limited to replacing the Project 877 Kilo-class submarines of the Northern Fleet.

However, the performance of the Saint-Petersburg during its sea trials being considered very disappointing, the design of an improved version, designated project 677M, was started, to overcome the main defects.

If today, 4 of these ships are in different stages of construction, including the Kronshtadt which is finishing its sea trials and should join the Northern Fleet this year, and 2 other units have been ordered in 2022, the fate of Saint-Petersburg remained uncertain.

The Saint-Petersburg submarine, unlike the Improved Kilos, has never demonstrated its operational potential
The Russian Navy preferred to turn to the 636.3 Improved Kilo to modernize the submarine fleets of the Black Sea, the Pacific and the Baltic Sea in the face of the disappointing performance of the Lada class

It's now done according to the Tass Agency, citing two sources familiar with the matter, which indicates that the Russian Admiralty would have decided to scrap the ship, only 14 years after its delivery, without it ever having been admitted to active service.

Indeed, according to these sources, it seems that the costs of modernizing the ship to bring it up to the 677M standard, and thus correct its many failures, would be at least equivalent to those allowing the construction of a new ship, marking the end of this ship in inglorious fate.

However, the difficulties encountered by the Lada program seem not to have dissipated with the reinforcement of the head of the class, even if much progress has been made, it seems, to correct the most important defects.


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